Invitation to Compassion

Leaving the house before dawn and returning after sunset has been my weekday pattern for the last several months. I miss experiencing the lovely mornings when the sun streams in over the eastern horizon, cascades through the sliding glass door and lands directly on all the animal fur on the floor.

Many years ago I decided daily vacuuming no longer needed to be high on my list. The remaining practice was acknowledging the expectation (and desire) for a clean floor even when fur animals share space in our home and learning to be at peace with it. Last Thursday morning I was still home when the sun began to beam in, and as I enjoyed the warmth on my face, I noted the sun soaked balls of fur moving to the flow of the nearby air vent. In the middle of a sigh of resignation, I realized while I could SEE the fur and dust on that day, the truth was it had actually been there for several days, but the darkness prevented me from seeing it. Light reveals what has always been there in the dark.

Life invites us to look at our priorities and consider what works and what doesn’t. It is a practice that strengthens our resilience. Hanging on to things that no longer work for us can often bring stress. Sometimes we are aware of what (or whom) raises our blood pressure. Other times it may feel like a mystery. We cannot see the stressors that are “in the dark.”  And, it isn’t until we “see” them and acknowledge them that we can do something to change them.

Maya Angelou famously said, “When we know better, we do better.”  When we realize what stresses us, (and thus no longer works for us) it is at that exact time (and not before) that we can do something about it. Working on stressors of which we are aware, (the ones already revealed) can empower us and increase our resiliency. Worrying about the things still in the dark will not help bring light, only more worry.

This week when you find yourself encountering an emotion or reaction you can’t explain, when things make no sense, remember to be compassionate with what you do not know. When light comes to the darkness, we can choose gratitude for what we are able to see. In this way we can move our internal mantra from shame and worry to one of compassion and gratitude for ourselves and the mystery inside each of us.



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